Some things are best done yourself

In November 2005, you’ll recall, more than 100 federal agents swooped down on Geoff Fieger’s Southfield law offices, and executed search warrants at several of his employees’ homes, looking for evidence of illegal campaign contributions.

Fieger, a staunch Democrat, and his main partner, Ven Johnson were indicted in 2008. They famously beat the rap last year. Part of their argument rested on the notion that the prosecution was the Bush Justice Department’s politically motivated brainchild.

Now, Fieger’s not the sort of guy to take all of that lying down. Fieger, or more to the point, Michael Deszi, one of his associates, filed a couple of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

Deszi had an eye on establishing a political conspiracy regarding campaign finance law enforcement. He asked for any documents exchanged between the FEC and Bush Justice Department operatives.

Fieger, apparently displeased with the FEC’s response, named himself as plaintiff in a FOIA suit against the FEC.

Late last month, federal District Court Judge David M. Lawson dismissed the suit.

The problem, in a nutshell, was standing. Fieger didn’t have it. Wrote Lawson:

A plaintiff who has neither made a request for information on his own nor explicitly through counsel cannot show an injury in fact, which is a necessary constitutional requirement of standing.

Moreover, a plaintiff who bases a FOIA lawsuit upon the request for information by another person does not satisfy the prudential requirement that he must assert a violation of his own legal rights. …

[B]ecause there is no evidence presented that the named plaintiff ever requested information from the FEC, or that information was requested on his behalf, Article III standing has not been established.

The case is Fieger v. Federal Election Comm’n.

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